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NBSV 036


Drs. Arjun and Shobha Rayapudi on food as medicine -

reversing chronic disease, losing weight, ending the dieting cycle,

and getting off medications

Karina:  You're listening to the No-bullshit vegan podcast, episode 36. Dr. Shobha and Arjun Rayapudi, founders of the non-profit organization Gift of Health, are here to discuss the benefits of plant-based eating, including reversing chronic diseases, common vegan mistakes to avoid, the problem with oils, how to transition to plant-based eating and much more.


Hey, welcome to the show. I'm vegan professional fitness nut, Karina Inkster and today I'm excited to present two amazing guests on the podcast. One quick thing though, before I introduce our guests, I got to tell you about what happened last week. So last week after nine months of being in the iTunes store, my podcast was removed from the iTunes store with no warning whatsoever. It was basically just deleted. I got an email saying, your podcast has been rejected and it was only after a whole bunch of back and forth messages with their support team that I learned. They took it down for profanity in the title without setting the show to ‘explicit’. Now remember, this is nine months after it had been approved. It's been on the iTunes store since it started with no warning to me to fix the issue, whatever. It was basically just a notification that the show was no longer available in iTunes, which is how most people listened to the show because it includes the iPhone podcast app, so all our ratings and reviews and download stats were deleted and we can't recover them.

The show is now back in iTunes, thankfully after I resubmitted it, but we're starting completely from square one with ratings and reviews and unfortunately, that's the main way new listeners are able to find this show. This show was actually appearing near the top of search results if you search for vegan in podcasts, but now it's completely hidden away somewhere, way down the list because it's basically being treated as a brand new show so I could really use your help in an effort to improve this podcast visibility and overall status after losing nine months’ worth of ratings and reviews. I would really appreciate if you could take two minutes to leave a star rating and a quick review and it only needs to be a sentence at that's going to be a huge help and I do read every single review so thank you so much and I really appreciate the help.


Now onto our awesome guests for today. Husband and wife team Dr. Arjun Rayapudi and Dr. Shobha Rayapudi are the cofounders of Gift of Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revolutionizing lives through a whole food plant-based minimally processed, sustainable way of eating. Through in-person and online workshops, they have helped hundreds of people transform their health and embrace a new way of living. What an amazing exemplar of food as medicine, their book, Gift of Health, unleash your power to finally lose weight, get off medications and reverse disease will be published in July 2019. Dr. Shoba Rayapudi is a physician, epidemiologist, researcher and a clinical trialist. Besides her medical degree, she holds a master's of science degree in Epidemiology and a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University. Working as a clinical trialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Trials, her principal scientific interests have been the effect of nutrition in preventing and reversing chronic diseases.

Dr. Arjun Rayapudi is a general surgeon, Endoscopist and a plant-based community nutritionist. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and as a fellow of the Royal College of Phyicians and Surgeons of Canada. He holds the plant-based nutrition certificate from Cornell University and Dr. McDougall's Starts Solution certificate. He works as a general surgeon and endoscopist in Newfoundland, Canada where the Rayapudis live with their son and veggie-loving dog. As for their favorite vegan foods, the Rayapudis enjoy simple meals like a bowl of a variety of cut fruits, cashews, and raisins with flax and chia seeds. We've got a lot to cover. So let's get to the interview.

Hi Drs Rayapudi thank you so much for coming on the show.

Dr. Arjun and Dr. Shobha: Oh, thank you for having us.

Karina: Well, it's fantastic to have you here, you guys are a serious power couple. Holy crap. I'm very impressed, I'm very interested in the story of your nonprofit organization that you cofounded Gift of Health. So maybe we can start there. Can you give us a little background about how that came to be and what you do?

Dr. Arjun: Sure. I think both of us came to the same thing from different angles in different aspects. I am a general surgeon. I've been working as a surgeon for the last eight years. During my first two years of my surgical practice, I learned and observed that more than 80% of the problems that I'm seeing in my clinic and hospital are due to a poor diet and lifestyle choices. Then initially I was quite busy operating, taking care of for sick patients with breast cancer, colon cancer, and anything related to the gut, treating patients with acid reflux and hemorrhoids and gallstones and colitis, all this kind of problems. But even with the most advanced treatments I had, the patients were still having recurrent symptoms and I felt like I wasn't doing such a great job, even with the most advanced surgical and medical methods that I was able to offer.

I work in Newfoundland. The place where I work at the province is number one in the incidence of stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, obesity, a lot of disease. And I could not tell why there is so much disease here. When I was looking around the answers I got was it mostly jeans, but I didn't make any sense. But fortunately, I happened to watch a documentary called Forks over Knives. It opened my eyes to the effect of what food can have on our overall health, not just for the prevention, but what really threw me off was how effective the diet can be to reverse most of the chronic diseases especially  Dr. Esselstyn's work of reversing heart disease with just changing diet.

It really inspired me and when I started using that with my patients I saw tremendous results for colitis, Crohn's, acid reflux and gallstones. More than 50 to 80% of them improved when they started plant-based eating. Around that time my dad's health scare also happened. He was diagnosed with severe heart disease. He was having shortness of breath and when he had his angiogram, he had more than 90% blockages in the three main blood vessels. For most of his life he struggled with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which is a recipe for heart disease. When he came to know that he had heart disease, the cardiologist recommended that he needed to have stents and another cardiologist said he needed to have bypass surgery.

That was a very tough time for my family. I asked him instead of having his chest cut open, why don't you open your mouth and put different foods? He thought I was crazy. He decided to try it. Two weeks later he was walking with the notions of breath and a longer distances. His blood sugar control was so good that we had to cut his diabetic perspective 50%. Three months later, he came off of a five medications that he was taking for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Six months later he finished the heart treadmill stress test that he could not have finished before. So he is living proof that this works. I've seen it with my patients. I've seen it with my family members and I myself eating this way. I've lost over 75 pounds and keeping it off. So multiple levels of things happened but both of us have passion to share this message to the people that they could reverse most of the chronic diseases with just eating a plant-based way of diet and a plant-based lifestyle.

Dr. Shobha: I went into the medical field with a passion of preventive medicine. I was always curious how we can prevent diseases or can we lead a life where we are healthy throughout where we do not have to suffer from high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetes or any other chronic conditions that we see today. I was very true to see all the evidence and the research showing that yes, you can definitely do that. So from a clinical perspective, I could see how hard it was, to give all this knowledge and show the skills to the people how they can reverse their disease or how they can prevent diseases by changing their lifestyle habits. So it is difficult to cater that in a clinical setting, one to one where you have very little time.

At the most, having half an hour and in that half an hour you cannot teach everything to the patient or you cannot tell everything. Coming from the research background I was able to experience how you can bring a behavior change at the population level. So my interest was basically how I can bring the best of both worlds where I can create a system where we can see patients because they come to the doctor first. That's where the doctor gets to see them. Using the techniques from the research world,  how we can impart that knowledge and bring about the change in a patient. So in this process, we were able to find the system that works. So we just say, just give us your weekend and we can show you how you can prevent disease or you can get rid of your medications or you can live for more years. So that system seemed to work and that's how Gift of Health was cofounded and through this model, we delivered this system. So we have almost seen more than hundreds of people and using the system, they were able to get rid of their medications, reverse their diseases. So it's been quite heartening to see that.

Dr. Arjun: So what we're doing is with the Gift of Health model, we are educating them about the disease, the food and the mind. We empower them with the skills that they need to change their diet and lifestyle. We show them how to shop, how to cook, how to eat outside, and all the food is all cooked and served in a buffet style. We also create a supportive environment so that they can sustain those changes in their environment, at home and in the workplace, and we create a circle of support even after they're done with the weekend.

Karina:  Right. That's amazing. I'm actually looking at your mission right now with the four perspectives.!I just want to share them with our listeners because I think it encompasses all of what you've just said about your backstory and why your organization exists. So it's basically to raise awareness about the connection between food and lifestyle choices and health, which is kind of what you were saying, especially with your dad, Arjun, with his health scare and then recovery. And then secondly, to help people reach their highest health, which is clearly happening after they go hang out with you guys for a weekend. And then creating and fostering a healthy environment for our children. So that's kind of taking this whole thing back home and changing the environment at home, which is super important. And then fourth, which is something we might talk about a little more, which is decreasing unnecessary suffering on our planet. So I assume that's really where the ethical veganism comes in?

Dr. Arjun: You could add that to it, but I really liked the way you put everything from the beginning. Can we hire you as a publicity or marketing consultant? We came up with all those things, but I think you said it very beautifully.

Karina: Thanks. So is the unnecessary suffering what you mean actually more health related, like suffering of people and their health issues?

Dr. Arjun: Oh, it's on multiple levels.

Dr. Shobha: We tend to forget that we are the biggest animal. Of course when it comes to decreasing suffering, we think of saving the animals, but we also forget we are the biggest animal, and when it comes to us how we can decrease the unnecessary suffering? You do not have to have heart disease in the first place or you do not have to have the diseases, but if you have them have, you can decrease the burden of the diseases.

Dr. Arjun: Just to add to that I was mentioning the suffering,  it's suffering on different levels and different aspects. One is the human suffering.  There's so much disease burden because of poor food choices. So if you go to the right food choices, you can decrease the human suffering. Them there is a suffering of the animals, the billions of animals are being killed unnecessarily. The other suffering is the suffering of the planet itself. We believe that we don't own this planet. We're just renting it from our kids. If we could go towards plant-based, we can address all three. I don't mean to say you could kill three birds in one shot. Maybe you could get three pins in one shot for bowling,

Karina:  Some vegan equivalent of that. That's a really great way of putting it actually. So it encompasses a lot of things, which I think honestly for most vegans, especially longterm ones, that's kind of where we end up anyways. Maybe we start on a plant-based diet because of health and we go to one of these weekends that you put on because we need to lower our blood pressure or decrease risk for heart disease. But then I think the more research people do, the more empowered they are to do their own research. The more they realize, Hey, wait a second, this helps our planet and it helps our future generations and also animal suffering,  all of these other things then enter into the picture. So I feel like what you're doing really encompasses all of those things, which is I think really the way to go. It's fantastic. So we have some interesting discussion points and the first point is the spectrum of plant-based eating. I'm not entirely sure what that means. So maybe you can enlighten me. What is the concept of the spectrum of plant-based eating?

Dr. Arjun: So plant-based eating, we're talking about sticking to foods that are coming from whole grains - legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Now you can take these foods in a whole foods form but you can also take these foods in a processed form. If you are not paying attention to it, whether you're eating whole or processed, then you could lack the much-needed nutrients. Let's say if you're going more towards processed or junk food vegan foods, then your health is going to be in trouble. We have seen this again and again, even in workshops. People who have been following a vegan diet come to the workshop and one thing that they notice after three days with us eating a whole food plant-based way is that they have more energy, they have more mental clarity. The reason is going away from the processed plant-based foods to more of unprocessed whole foods. So we tried to clarify this. We say just because something is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy. There is a misconception that the majority of the people when they go vegan were for health reasons. Eithical reasons are reasons they tend to lean towards the processed plant-based foods. When I say processed plant-based foods, we are talking about fake meats and fake burgers or fake hot dogs or using lot of oil, using sugars and processed flour. These kind of foods. When you eat those foods, those foods are nutrient depleted.

Dr. Shobha: We compared this to animal-based foods. When you compare processed plant-based foods to animal-based foods, animal-based foods tend to have more nutrients in terms of iron and calcium and other nutrients.

Karina: Interesting. I've never actually heard that before and that's quite powerful for people who may not have known that before.

Dr. Arjun: Yes. I'm sure you probably heard this, some people when they go from a meat eating towards vegan way of eating, they feel horrible. They feel horrible and say I have low energy. I never felt like this before and after a few weeks they give it up. That's because they were choosing the wrong foods when they go on the vegan side.

Karina:  Right they just didn't have guidance as to how to do it. Interesting. So the spectrum you're talking about is not like a spectrum of zero to a hundred being vegan. It's really more about within the plant-based way of eating, there's a spectrum of is it going to support your health goals or not?

Dr. Arjun: Yes, that's right. When we compare the nutrient density of the whole foods that are plant-based to the animal-based foods, the whole food plant-based items are much more nutrient-dense than the animal-based foods, and the animal-based foods are more nutrient-dense than the processed plant-based foods.

Karina:  Yes. So that says something then. Now I'm a big believer in not labeling food as bad or good. It's fuel, and it has different uses for different people depending on what their goals are of course. So I don't know if you guys agree or not, but I am all for enjoying those foods once in a while, like a Beyond Burger or whatever. But if that's your main source of calories, if that's your main thing that you eat 24/7 that's probably not going to lead toward really excellent health. But I personally don't really have an abolitionist approach to those types of foods, but I don't know where you guys are on that level?

Dr. Arjun: We don't have an abolitionist approach. What we like to do is show them the spectrum, just like you mentioned in the plant-based way of eating and steer them towards the whole foods rather than the processed plant foods. And one more thing that we do, if you're looking for burgers, just go to our site, we have recipes for at least 10 different kinds of burgers, bean burgers, quinoa burgers, a beet burger, sweet potato burger. So there are different kinds of plant-based burgers that you can make which don't have too much oil, which don't have too much of soy protein isolate, which don't have too much chemicals, which all of those that I mentioned, effect our health negatively. But you can make similar tasting burgers with whole foods, with a little bit of effort. But I do agree, if you're on the go and if there is nothing else to eat and all I have is some in a processed plant food, I may just eat it. But that's a rare occasion thing. What we are focusing on right now is there are many people thinking that a vegan way is the way to go and relying on the processed plant foods.

Karina:  Right, that makes total sense. I think this is a good transition into our next discussion topic, which may include some of these things, so some of it might overlap, but it is your take on common mistakes to avoid as a vegan or someone who is making the transition. So I'm interested to hear what you usually share with your participants. For example, what are the common mistakes?

Dr. Arjun: So number one is going for the oil based foods. Number two is going for the processed plant foods compared to the whole foods. For example, a baked potato or a steamed potato or a boiled potato is much more healthier. If you go to potato chips or potato fries fried in oil, that also falls on the plant base. It's also falls into vegan, but that's not as healthy as just having a big potato steamed potatoes.  So the oil is one and how heavily it is processed.

Karina:  So it's more about food choices, like making sure that you're focusing on really nutrient dense sources.

Dr. Arjun: Yes and a couple more mistakes I think people make is relying heavily on the flour based foods because the whole grains act differently compared to flour-based foods. If you're having a bowl of quinoa or a bowl of oats, the body processes those grains differently compared to having white bread, compared to having a pizza crust made with just white flour. The other mistake people make is just because its sugar is plant-based, people don't pay attention that you should limit sugar as well. Sugar is showing up to be inflammatory in multiple studies and excess sugar intake is also linked with the obesity cancers. I'm talking about the processed sugar. I'm not talking about the natural sugars from fruits.

Dr. Shobha:Also when it comes to sugar, people think, okay, maybe if I'm having date sugar or coconut sugar, maybe that is healthier than the regular sugar or I'm having sugar from Stevia extract, or if I'm having maple syrup or agave syrup, maybe that's more healthy than the regular sugar. But what people don't realize is sugar is sugar and the sweeteners are sweeteners. They have same number of calories and when it is processed, it acts in a different manner, whether it comes from a sugar cane, whether it comes from a beet, from a date or a coconut, they act in a similar fashion.

Karina: That's a great point. I think a lot of people don't know that. I have a question about Stevia though. Isn't that low calorie? Isn't that like no calories at all? Wouldn't that affect us differently?

Dr. Arjun: It has no calories, so Stevia is a neutral thing.

Dr. Shobha: When you use Stevia in the whole form,  let's say if you're using raw Stevia leaves, it totally acts in a different manner. But when people are using a Stevia extract powder or using it as a sugar that acts in a different manner.

Karina: Interesting. I did not know that. So I guess it depends on how it's processed and whether you're using the actual whole plant form versus something that's further away from the natural form. Okay. So now maybe you guys can share with our listeners and me included, because I haven't done a ton of research on this myself, the problem with oils. Why do you tell your participants, patients, people you're working with to avoid oil?

Dr. Arjun: Oh I think we should do a separate podcast or whole episode on that.

Dr. Shobha: When it comes to oil, people think, Oh, olive oil is healthy, the research shows that it tends to increase your good cholesterol, it increases your HDL so it's good for you. But what people don't realize is when you look at the long term studies of oil, they have shown that they are not that beneficial. Oil tends to destroy the inner lining of the blood vessels, endothelium. For example, if you take all the oil, one tablespoon olive oil, is 120 calories. It doesn't have any fiber, it doesn't have any nutrients. It doesn't have minerals. It has trace amounts of vitamin E, but when it comes to other vitamins, they're not much vitamins there. Also it's highly calorie dense food. One pound of olive oil will give you 4,000 calories. When you compare two tablespoons of olive oil, it has three times the greater amount of saturated fat compared to 3.5 ounces of chicken. Then when you compare the saturated fat, it's almost has 14% saturated fat, which is way high. The recommended intake by industry standard is if you consume anything greater than 7% of saturated fat, it tends to increase your cholesterol levels. People think, okay, it's just plant oils, it's not as harmful as butter but when you look at it, it is harmful. When studies compared butter versus olive oil, and after one year when they looked at the angiogram, it had the same amount of effect on the arteries, in terms of plaque formation or in terms of experiencing heart disease, it was the same. So when it comes to oil, people think it is healthy, but it causes a lot of damaging effects to your health.

Karina: Right. That's a great summary actually.

Dr. Arjun: All oils increase inflammation. Olive oil, coconut oil canola oil, all oils increase inflammation. I want to harp on one more thing, that's how dense the calories are in the oil. Just a tablespoon is 120 calories. What that means is if you just put two spoons of olive oil on your salad, which many people do, you have to run about two and a half miles to burn it.

Karina: Interesting. That's a good way of putting it.

Dr. Arjun:The salad is already heart-healthy you're not making it any more heart-healthy by adding more oil, you're only destroying the health quality of the salad.

Karina: This is why you can sometimes a restaurant salad that has a thousand calories in it. It's quite common.

Dr. Shobha: It’s also touted to be rich in Omega threes, but to get your daily requirement of Omega three, you have to consume eight ounces of oil, which is almost like 1900 calories and 43% saturated fat.

Dr. Arjun: Sometimes people think when we're saying no oil, that we are recommending a no fat diet. We're not recommending a no fat diet. We are recommending a no added fat diet. If you are going with flax seeds, chia seeds, you'll get all the Omega threes you need. Avocados are fine,  nuts are okay in moderation if you're not going too crazy on them. So it's not a no fat diet. We're recommending no processed fat diet.

Karina:  Got it. I'm just going to play devil's advocate for one second because we are currently under the assumption that we want to be mindful of overall calorie intake, but there are a lot of us who are mindful about calorie intake in eating enough as opposed to eating too much. So for me, for example, it's a freaking full time job, eating well over 3000 calories a day and now again, this goes back to a whole theme of our show, which is there is no one size fits all approach, right? So yeah, there's research that shows us what happens on a population level. However, someone like me who happens to be deathly allergic to all raw fruit, including avocados and all tree nuts. So the only nut I can have is peanuts. I feel like a teaspoon here and there of coconut oil, first of all helps me get some level of fat into my diet, but more than that it helps me achieve my calorie goal for the day, which might be different from a lot of our listeners. But for me it's about hitting a certain level, as someone who is super active, it's a lot of food eating over 3000 calories. So do you feel like there's a little bit of wiggle room in there as long as coconut oil is not my one source of fat, you know, a little bit here and there.

Dr. Shobha: When it comes to fat, people mostly think in terms of olive oil or nuts, but we tend to forget that fat is present In plants too. If you look at soybeans, it's 40% as fat. When you look at vegetables or when you look at greens, every one of them have fat.

Dr. Arjun: Even rice. There is some fat in the rice as well. All the grains, have fat in it. A portion of it coming from the fat. But the majority of the population are sick people who have a lot of chronic diseases and we want them to reach plant perfection, to get rid of their disease so that they can get freedom from taking these medications and freedom from the hospitals. But for someone like you who's working out a lot, some of our friends are athletes and even when they're working out a lot, they have made their diet in a way without using any processed plant-based foods. But I'm not too worried about you taking a spoon of oil here and there.

Karina: That's a good point. Again, it's the one size fits all fallacy, right? Hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, all those things are perfectly fine for me and they're going to be way more nutrient dense.

Dr. Arjun: There is nothing miraculous about coconut oil.

Karina:  Oh, I agree.

Dr. Arjun: There's nothing miraculous about it. I think more and more studies are coming up and Jeff Novick, one of the smartest dieticians on the planet, he had a recent article on coconut oil, how the coconut oil became the craziest a miracle food and now people are waking up to the harmful effects of the coconut oil.

Karina:  Well, that's part of the reason this podcast exists. To bust some of those myths so I'm glad you mentioned that. It's a red flag when anybody regardless of background says, Hey, I found a miracle food. Look at how awesome this one thing is. It doesn't really work that way.

Dr. Arjun: When we are harping on the point of oil, I do want to mention this too. Without paying attention, it's very easy to consume at least 500 calories of oil in a day.

Karina: If you're not really careful?

Dr. Arjun: You know, you making pancakes in the morning just one or two spoons of oil, you having a salad in the afternoon, a stir fry grilling something in the evening, that's like five to six spoons of oil at the end of the day, that's 500 to 600 calories. If you are eating plant-based and if you're not losing weight,  I don't like to use this word, but there are people even on the vegan diet who are struggling with their weight.

Karina:  Oh yeah, of course. This is why I have a business. This is why my coaching exists. So yeah, it's a big deal.

Dr. Arjun: We actually are excited to work with the people who are on a vegan diet because they're already on very conscious and they are already eating healthier, but once they tweak these few changes they see the better version of themselves.

Karina:  Perfect. That's a great way of putting it. So, speaking of becoming a better version of yourself, how do you start with someone who is not plant-based but wants to go plant-based? How do you help them make this transition? What tips do you have for our listeners if they're interested?

Dr. Shobha: Whenever you want to make a change, people think, okay, if I have the knowledge, if you give me the recipes, if you give me the meal plan, I'm all set, maybe I can make the transition. But what people don't realize that to make any change, you need three ingredients in place. So one is having the knowledge and also having a clear reason why they want to transition, the second is having the skills to transition, and the third one is having the support. If any one of these are missing, the change doesn't happen in a sustainable way. In early phases, people may be motivated and they may go for it, but after a short period of time, they cannot sustain the change longer if even one of one of these things are missing.

Dr. Arjun: So, to break it down first you have to have a why, why you want to do it, because when you have struggles or hurdles, you go back to your why, why you started. The second thing is the knowledge. Like you need to have the clarity. People are worried, will I get enough protein, even on the plant-based diet, will I get enough iron and will I get enough calcium? But the bottom line is if you just eat whole foods that are plant-based, you don't have to worry about any nutrients. So that clarity part is so important. Then how to cook, how to shop, how to eat outside. Then having the support is such a key. If you are doing it by yourself, then I would suggest to watch Forks over Knives, make sure you watch Cowspiracy to begin with.

Karina: So is that hitting on the knowledge side and the why side? Probably both?

Dr. Arjun: Why side and the knowledge side. Then talk to your family members, talk to your friends, talk to your spouse, just let them know this is what you are considering.

Dr. Shobha: The way we can look at the why is, for example, if my goal is  I want to do this plant-based eating because I want to lose 30 pounds. So let's say you lose 30 pounds, then after that you stop eating plant-based. So it also depends what sort of why you have. Is it for your overall health or is it for a certain thing? Because depending upon your clear why the transition is different. We have a parable where one person says what are you doing? So that person says, I'm laying the brick. Why are you doing that? He said, because I want to earn money. Then the other person comes and asks, okay, why are you laying the bricks? He says, I'm building something here. When he goes to the third person, that third person says, I'm building a cathedral here so that people can be connected to spirituality. All three of them are doing the same thing, but they have a different clear why. The person who has a deeper why, you can see how motivated they can be in the long run for the transition as opposed to a person who thinks short term.

Karina:  Yes. I fully agree. I think the same thing applies to fitness too, which is what I work with a lot with my clients. Sure you want to lose 10 pounds, but that's not enough to keep you going, you know?

Dr. Arjun: If they want to get started, have clarity, have a clear why,  then maybe just look at their food choices. What is it they're eating right now? Learn more about plant-based eating, don't just dive in because if you don't know some of the basics,when you hit a hurdle, then you may give up. So take time to dive in. Use some reliable websites. We have a website. We have over 200 recipes tested by the people we have the crowd favorites like burgers, pizza, soups and stews instead of fries. Go to If you can’t find support in your family, join an online support group. There are lots of support groups out there.

Dr. Shobha: One thing people think is, Oh, this is just a lifestyle change. This is just changing my eating habits. It's not so hard as doing other things. But it is really helpful when you add in some of the emotion programs because that sets you on a path and that also gives you some sort of support. You find a community which you can rely on.

Karina: I think that's super important. There's a lot of people who don't have in their immediate social circles, including their family, a lot of support, and so I think it's becoming more and more important actually to have other options. Facebook groups, online challenges, coaches who might live halfway across the world but can still help you, so I think that's fantastic. So the recipes that you mentioned and your website, where can our listeners go to help themselves to that info if that would help them and also connect with you?

Dr. Shobha: So they can go to the website

Dr. Arjun: We're also on Facebook. You can find us if you type into Facebook Gift of Health. We are on Instagram, we are on YouTube, but mostly our activity goes on Facebook and the website. Dr. Shoba adds one or two new recipes almost every week and all the recipes are free.

Dr. Shobha: There are more than 200 recipes on the website.

Dr. Arjun: All plant-based and oil-free.

Karina:  Perfect. You guys also have a book coming out, which is super exciting. What can you tell our listeners about that?


Dr. Arjun: We are so excited. The book will be out in July 2019. The book is called The Gift of Health. It's about helping people to lose weight and reverse chronic diseases and get off their medications.

Karina:  That's fantastic. We're going to have links to all these things in our show notes too so that we'll have everything in one place. So Facebook, social media, website, all that awesome stuff. I feel like we should totally do another episode on the oil thing in particular, but for now, I will let you guys go and I really appreciate you coming on the show. It's been fantastic speaking with you and thanks so much.


Dr. Arjun: Oh, thank you so much for having us.


Dr. Shobha: Oh, thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you Karina.


Thank you Drs Rayapudi for taking the time to speak with me. I loved our conversation and I hope to have more in the future. Access our show notes at I would really appreciate a quick star rating and comment on iTunes to build back our reviews after losing them all at thanks so much. Thanks for listening to the No-bullshit vegan podcast at

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